Hornbill Unleashed

May 15, 2011

In search of a new paradigm for Malaysian politics

Sim Kwang Yang

I suddenly thought of Ling Kuang Ming. He was my first political teacher in 1979 as I was working with him when he was a full time employee of the Sarawak DAP.

Ling was also the retired senior member of the Sarawak Communist Party. Prior to his surrender to the security forces, Ling held the exalted position of Sarawak foreign minister under the communist regime.

I learned about the communist idea of the United Front practised by the communist in their war against the security forces.

Their slogan was: ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’, for the time being at least.

Ling Kuang Ming has since died many years ago. But his many ideas still continue to inspire me today, especially on how he divides a line between friend and foes in the pursued of our political ideology.

In Malaysia, we are deeply divided by the politic of race, and Malaysia is a nation of many races.

How do we identify our foes and differentiate them from friends on the playing field of many parties and races.

Dramatic battle line differences 

From my personal point-of-view, there is only one battle line. On the one side is the collage of BN component parties, dominated by one single party alone, Umno.

On the other side is the opposition front led by PKR, PAS and DAP. The mammoth battle between these two sides is now where we find ourselves on the eve of yet another general election.

But the battle line for the opposition parties is not so clearly drawn. The opposition coalition exists because of the need to confront their common enemy, the Barisan Nasional.

Within the component parties of the Pakatan Rakyat, they haveNONEnever had any open declaration of a common objective for a common plate form that can be easily identified by voters.

For the first time in the history of Malaysia, we have the possibility of encouraging the two-coalition system. Having two coalitions that may take power alternatively, is the ideal scenario for Malaysia.

We are now on the verge of seeing the appearance of the two alternative fronts.

It should be the objective of far sighted Malaysians to promote this idea of two coalitions, taking power at alternative intervals.

Back to classroom for politicians

For this to happen so that democracy will have a bright future in Malaysia, politicians on the opposition side must learn the new art of coalition politics. This is more easily said than done.

In the political culture of Malaysia, opposition parties tend to enshrine party loyalty way above the collective interest of all the political parties.

They are trapped in the partisan struggle for dominants of their individual parties, rather than for the collective interest of all opposition parties.

The best example is to see how they fight one another bitterly for the chance to contest in a certain constituency.

In their verbal battle in the press, they forgo all pretense of opposition solidarity in running down their opponents in the opposition coalitions, living deep wounds in their inter-party relationship.

Civilised behaviour a must now

It is hard to see the DAP, PKR and PAS conduct open, but and courteous and peaceful debate on matters of their inter-party competition.

This is the only stumbling block towards establishing solidarity among all opposition parties.

NONEThe aspiration of all Malaysians who love freedom is to see all opposition parties unite together without the constant in fighting and open war of words in the press.

As an opposition supporter, I feel deeply hurt by the harsh exchange of words among prominent opposition leaders. My question is, if you cannot settle your internal problems quietly away from public glare, how can we expect you to govern country peacefully?

A political party is a strange creature. Sometimes personal ambition tends to distort the self knowledge of elected officials.

It is the job of people like us, who are supporters of the opposition cause, and yet who have no axe to grind and who have not much personal ambition to serve as checks and balances against the personal excesses of individual opposition leaders.

The masses of people who love democracy cannot just stand-by but must act as extra checks and balances against leaders of the opposition front.

If democracy in Malaysia is to grow, we must not leave politics only to the politicians.

The Rakyat themselves will have to play a more active part in the formation of the public opinions and make public forum a lively plays for meaningful debate.

In this respect, I find the debate on who should become the opposition leader in Sarawak, a counter productive exercise.

SIM KWANG YANG was member of parliament for Bandar Kuching, Sarawak from 1982 to 1995. He can be reached at sky8hornbill@gmail.com. All comments are welcomed.



    SKY let’s be more informative and educative by giving the correct information.

    There is not a “Sarawak Communist Party” but the “Communist Party of North Kalimantan” (CPNK) OR “North Kalimantan Communist Party” (NKCP) which the correct name as you well know from the late Comrade Ling.

    This backgrounder is provided by Wikipedia- may not be 100% accurate either:

    North Kalimantan Communist Party was a communist political party based in the Malaysian province of Sarawak in northern Borneo. It was founded on September 19, 1971. Before that, the group had been operating under the name Sarawak Communist Organization. The chairman of the NKCP was Wen Min Chyuan. He had been a leading member of the Sarawak United People’s Party 1960-1964.

    The membership of NKCP was predominantly ethnically Chinese. The armed wing of NKCP was Pasukan Rakyat Kalimantan Utara (PARAKU).


    Left-wing and communist cell groups had grown rapidly among Sarawak’s urban Iban and Chinese communities since the 1950s and later became the nucleus of the anti-Malaysia North Kalimantan People’s Army (PARAKU), which was the armed wing of the party.

    The party supported and propagated the unification of all Borneo territories under British control to form an independent leftist North Kalimantan state. This idea was idea originally proposed by A. M. Azahari, leader of the Parti Rakyat Brunei (Brunei People’s Party), who had forged links with Sukarno’s nationalist movement, together with Ahmad Zaidi, in Java in the 1940s.[1]

    The North Kalimantan (or Kalimantan Utara) proposal was seen as a post-decolonization alternative by local opposition against the Malaysia plan. Local opposition throughout the Borneo territories was primarily based on economic, political, historical and cultural differences between the Borneo states and Malaya, as well as the refusal to be subjected under peninsular political domination.

    In the aftermath of the Brunei Revolt, possibly fearing British reprisals (which never eventuated), many Chinese communists, possibly several thousand, fled Sarawak. Their compatriots remaining in Sarawak were known as Pasukan Gelilya Rakyat Sarawak (Sarawak People’s Guerilla Force). Soebandrio met with a group of their potential leaders in Bogor, and Nasution sent three trainers from Resimen Para Komando Angkatan Darat (RPKAD) Battalion 2 to Nangabadan near the Sarawak border, where there were about 300 trainees. Some 3 months later two lieutenants were sent there.[2]

    The PGRS numbered about 800, based in West Kalimantan at Batu Hitam, with a contingent of 120 from the Indonesian intelligence agency and a small cadre trained in China. The PKI (Indonesian Communist Party) was strongly in evidence and led by an ethnic Arab revolutionary, Sofyan. The PGRS ran some raids into Sarawak but spent more time developing their supporters in Sarawak. The Indonesian military did not approve of the leftist nature of the PGRS and generally avoided them.[3]
    Current status

    In 1974 a break-away group led by Bong Kee Chok signed a peace treaty with the state government. The Bong Kee Chok faction was larger than the remaining Wen Min Chyuan faction.

    The NKCP gradually declined. In 1989 CIA estimated that the group had around 100 fighters. On October 17, 1990, the NKCP signed a peace-treaty with the state government and dissolved. Several guerrilla fighters were reintegrated into civilian life.

    Comments: However didn’t Ling tell you all about the struggles of the PARAKU in S. Kalimantan? They were a mix of Chinese and Dayak force. They survived the Indonesian encircle and destroy attacks. May be you have better information. If so kindly write and tell us about the heroic struggles of the young Sarawak patriots who gave their lives fighting for an ideal (to oppose Malaysia and UMNO colonialism and fight for Sarawak independence) while we kicked football at St. Joseph’s!

    It is a pity that PARAKU is no more as it would have gathered strength now with the widespread struggle of the ulu people in progress. Now even the Dayaks are taking their own guerilla actions against the illegal timber loggers and companies who steal the land and timber.

    Where are you PARAKU when the people need you?

    Comment by 1962Demonstrator — May 16, 2011 @ 10:48 PM | Reply

  2. So, join MCLM and do what is necessary!

    Comment by Remie — May 15, 2011 @ 4:29 PM | Reply

  3. I indeed very much agreeing to what Sir SKY hv been telling us all these days. He should be given due respect for what he’d done for S’wakians all his past days as politician. He’s still playing his roles. I salute u for ur caourage. May we emulate what hv u done for us. May God Allah bless u.
    I further agree, not until the day when all leadres of alternative political parties (I don’t like to refer these parties as opposition parties bcos BN is also not a party that govern state alike Selangor, Kedah, Penang n Kelantan at present) really fully understand what they’re there as leaders of these alternative parties as a coalition alternatives to BN I’m afraid we’ll be enable to see any light to our future to dislodge these corrupted BN government.
    Can’t we discipline ourselves as leaders as a united bunch to establish a more meaningful groups of political parties who aspire to lead the rakyat as a mass of Malaysian society and not as a race of an individual group. As been repeatedly mentioned, as all the alternative parties always believe Malaysia is a multi-society, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-cultural n multi-religions. Can’t we understand all these very simple premises and environment. Let’s all in the alternative parties in PKR, DAP n PAS diregard all these differences if we truely wanting to dislodge BN government come PRU13 to really make an inroad to capture Putra Jaya. Salam reformasi.

    Comment by Buduk — May 15, 2011 @ 11:45 AM | Reply

  4. All politicians, incl aspiring ones too should print this out and spend quality on this article. Let them ask themselves, are they in it for their egos, enchrichments, status etc or to serve the people. We the rakyaat prefer the latter, most definitely. If this is too much to ask, just be a businessmen, you’ll gain more respect this way.

    Comment by smelly — May 15, 2011 @ 8:35 AM | Reply

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